Courtney Dial, entertainment and lifestyle expert and author of the recent book Push-Up Pops, suggests, "Think outside the cake! Your guests will love the change, so serve up desserts like whoopie pies, macaroons, miniature pies and of course push-up pops! Individual and mini treats are here to stay, so rejoice in getting out of slicing and serving up that cake." Courtney’s personal favorite when it comes to a cake alternative? "Snickers caramel pie push-up pops from my book!" Sign me up for that.
Pies and tarts
A pie or tart is always a good alternative to cake. You can make the crust yourself (it's really very easy to do in the food processor) or purchase a ready-made crust to save time and labor. Choose fresh local fruits in season to make the most of your sweet treat; peaches or Meyer lemons offer unsurpassed flavor when used at the peak of their growing season.
For a festive dessert your kids can help create, try the stunning eye appeal of a beautiful trifle. Made in a large clear glass dish, trifle is usually layers of cake (often pound or angel food), fruit and whipped cream or sometimes pudding. It can also be made with chocolate instead of fruit, and you might use vanilla wafer cookies or the incredible Famous Chocolate Wafers to line the outside of the bowl or place them between the layers of your chosen sumptuous goodness. Everyone will remember your trifle, trust me, because the presentation and flavor are both exquisite.
Weddings are a place where alternatives to cake have become a creative challenge for both the couple and the chef. I’ve heard of couples choosing to serve stacked cheeses -- as in wheels of sometimes exotic and pricey cheeses stacked as you would tiers of a wedding cake. Serving deliciousness in individual Mason jars is also quite popular at wedding celebrations; think chic but simple layered cheesecakes or ice cream in between classically or unusually flavored cake layers. We love Tookie's Jar Cakes, available on Etsy. Who could resist telling their friends about this innovative and fun alternative to the standard wedding cake? I see lots of iPhone photos being snapped, right?
An easy and entertaining way to make your celebration more memorable for you and your guests is by choosing an alternative to cake as the sweet focus of your festivities. Whether in individual servings or as part of an artistic dessert-related centerpiece, the suggestions here offer endless fun and can be executed on any budget! As Dial suggests, think outside of the cake box, and see just what kind of creative genius you can serve up at your next celebration.
More wedding ideas
7 Simple ways to impress your wedding guests
Lidia Bastianich talks weddings, food and cultural traditions
Wedding food: Dessert trends